Florida counties must raise $90 million next year under a plan that would require them to absorb the cost of holding juveniles for trial, reports the St. Petersburg Times. County officials have lobbied against the plan approved by House and Senate negotiators. The state has long paid to hold juveniles charged with a crime. This year, the state has until July 1 to meet a voter-passed mandate that requires the state to take over a bigger portion of the tab to fund the court system, at a cost of $116-million.
Lawmakers say the new plan should be a wash: Counties stop paying for courts and start paying for juvenile detention. County officials respond that the state will collect millions in filing fees and fines that will help pay for the courts.
“This is not something we wanted to do,” said state Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa. “We had no choice. We had to find $90-million.” Unhappy county lobbyists are scrambling to see what could be done to reverse the budget decision.